statesman news service 
KOLKATA, 19 JUNE: The state tourism department will pay Rs 5 lakh to the state transport department for plying an air -conditioned (AC) tram to various tourist spots in the city. 
The AC tram, renovated at Nonapukur tram depot at a cost of Rs 16 lakh was lying at the workshop for the past three months as the transport and the tourism departments could not decide who will ply the tram. 
Senior officials of the state transport department, and tourism department today inaugurated the tram from Esplanade tram depot as transport minister Madan Mitra was out of the city. The tourism department will run three services through the day, at 7 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tourists will be charged Rs 260 for the two-hour journey. Tickets can be purchased from Esplanade tram depot.
The morning trip starting from Esplanade will cover various tourist spots, including Star Theatre, Presidency College, Coffee House, Bagbazar, Chitpur, Raj Bhavan and Writers’ Buildings. The 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. trip will ply between Esplanade and Kidderpore. Tea, snacks and biscuits will served to those on board. The single-coach tram has 24 seats.
The tram has wide glass windows along with FM radio. It was renovated at an estimated cost of Rs 15 lakh. Fibre reinforced plastic, which keeps out heat during summer, were installed at the top instead of ultraviolet infra-red polycarbonate sheets on the tram. The state government has failed to pay salary and resolve the financial problem of the state transport department, a senior official of the

transport department said.  
In 2002, the CTC introduced heritage tram rides to attract domestic and foreign tourists. Two trams were renovated at an estimated cost of Rs 14 lakh, and named Balaka and Banalata. The heritage rides were held between October and February.  A few months later, the tram ride was suspended as most of the tracks were closed.